Storytel’s Latin American ambitions. Brazil, Mexico, Argentina and Colombia for 2019?

With the Storytel Spain launch in 2017 it was really just a matter of time before Jonas Tellander’s attention turned to Latin America. Now it seems that time is upon us.

With Iceland and UAE launched already this year, Turkey imminent, and Italy and Bulgaria both lined up, the promised five new Storytel countries for 2018 are in the bag. The new launches this year will add to the pre-existing line-up of Denmark, Finland, Norway, Netherlands, Poland, Russia, Spain and India, as well as Sweden itself.

But these initiatives take time to get together, so we need to be looking now, in 2018, to second-guess where Tellander will expand Storytel in 2019.

As noted here at TNPS back in January, Storytel is fielding a list of thirty countries on its international home page.

Storytel has 300,000 Swedish subscribers, a further 250,000 beyond and is aiming for thirty countries

Setting aside the eleven countries now live and the three imminent launches, that leaves sixteen countries on the international page: US, UK, Austria, Canada, China, Czech Republic, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Japan, Mexico, Portugal, Romania, South Africa and Switzerland.

Given the struggle Bonnier’s BookBeat has had in the UK market –

As Bonnier’s Bookbeat puts its UK venture on ice, revenues are up and its profitability in both Sweden and Finland

it’s improbable Storytel is looking too seriously at the UK, US or Canada right now, where publishers seem most averse to the subscription model. That said, a counter-balance to Amazon’s Audible might be just what the Anglophone publishers need to take that leap of faith.

China is another on the list that seems a distant prospect right now, and this will be an especially challenging market for Storytel to gain entry to. But what about the rest?

Expansion across the European markets is a given. The surprise for me is that Romania is not on the list.

Beyond Europe Storytel lists South Africa, Japan and Mexico. Ambitious, but having launched in India before Audible, Storytel’s credentials for taking the path less travelled by are well established.

Which brings us to Mexico, the only Latin American country on the list.

Just as Storytel is able to launch in india (adn will in South Africa) with a substantial English-language catalogue, so the Spain launch in September 2017 will provide Storytel with a substantial catalogue to hit the road running in Mexico.

But it seems the Storytel home page list is far from complete.

By happy coincidence the Bogota International Book Fair has just wound up in Colombia and the Buenos Aries International Book Fair is under way in Argentina as this post goes live. Between them some 1.7 million booklovers will be in attendance.

And word has it the Storytel team have been on the ground at both events sounding out publisher interest.

Brazil’s trade journal PublishNews reports Storytel reps have been,

evaluating the digital consumption profile of the Argentines and the Colombians to decide which of them to land first.

PublishNews suggests Storytel has already been talking with publishers in Brazil.

And that in turn should have us wondering how far advanced Storytel’s plans are for Portugal.

 

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